After planning for a Tawang trip for several years, we managed to do it this year in early May. Since I pick up a lot of information from BCM Touring, I share my experience of the trip with the other members in this forum. That’s why this travelogue. Since I did not take notes during the trip, there may be some errors in distance, timing mentioned in this travelogue. I hope members won’t mind that. The team consisted eight members – three members from Mumbai (me, my wife and daughter), one member from Delhi (my sister-in-law from Delhi) and four members from Kolkata (my parents, my father-in-law and my brother-in law). My parents are above 70 and Father-in-Law is above 60. Though I have read at many places that it is bit risky to take senior citizens to a high altitude place like Tawang, fortunately they did not face any difficulty during the trip. Few years back, I took my parents to Spiti and there also they did not face any problem. So Spiti trip experience gave me confidence to take them to Tawang also. Typically, for a trip of this nature, I do a proper planning and book everything well before the trip. But his time, other than booking air tickets of Mumbai-Kolkata-Guwahati and return ticket from Guwahati to Kolkata to Mumbai (combination of RaiI and Air) and arranging ILP, I could not do anything upfront. So even seven days before the trip, the exact route to be taken, places to stay and see, vehicle and hotels were uncertain. We got our ILP from Kolkata. A couple of months before the trip, I was at Kolkata. During that time, I went to Arunachal Bhavan at Salt Lake. They gave a form. The form was pretty simple. After submitting the from along with photos and identity documents, I came back to Mumbai. I gave the receipt of submission of the form to my Brother-in-Law and he collected the ILP after a couple of week. If I am not wrong, it costed Rs. 10/- per person. It was a pretty simple, inexpensive and efficient process. The initial itinerary prepared by me was as follows: Day 1 : Guwahati to Tejpur/Bhalukpong Day 2: Tejpur/Bhalukpong to Bomdila Day 3 : Bomdila to Tawang Day 4 : Obtaining necessary permission for Bumla pass and Tawang local sightseeing Day 5 : Day trip from Tawang to Bum La Pass, Pengateng Tso Lake (PT Tso Lake) and Shonga-tser Lake (Madhuri Lake) Day 6 : Day trip to Lumla and Zemithang from Tawang Day 7 : Tawang to Dirang Day 8 : Dirang to Guwahati Day 9 : Local sightseeing at Guwahati Day 10 : Commencement of return journey Our scheduled start day from Guwahati was 28th April and return date from Guwahati was 7th May. One of my cousins stay at Itanagar. When he came to know about the trip plan, he advised to change it and to undertake the trip latest by mid-April because rain starts by May in Arunachal Pradesh. But by the time the tickets have been booked so date change was not possible. It was also not possible otherwise because summer vacation of my daughter was scheduled to start from 28th April. So we stuck to our original travel dates. During the trip, my cousin’s prediction proved true. We encountered moderate to severe rain during the trip. The sky was always cloudy. We rarely got sunny days. So the dream of clicking ice clad picks and blue water lake in sunny days remain unfulfilled. But the brighter side is we experienced abundant snowfall at Sela Pass and at Bumla. And for the people from the plains, experiencing snowfall is second to none. Initially, it was planned that we would take two Sumo/Innova from Guwahati for the entire trip. For Bumla day trip from Tawang, we would take local vehicles because the local taxi union does not allow outside vehicles to go to Bumla. Over a period of time, the plan of taking two Sumo/Innova from Guwahati changed to taking one Tempo Traveller from Guwahati. I discussed this matter with my cousin who stays at Itanagar and he told that he would arrange the tempo traveller. But it took quite a long time to arrange the tempo traveller. It got finalized only 15 days before the trip and the charge was Rs. 50000/-, all inclusive, for the entire trip, from Guwahati to Guwahati. I was fine with that. But when that fellow that the entire amount has to be given him in advance through net banking, I became bit hesitant. After giving him the entire money, if I cannot trace him at Guwahati Airport, that would be a huge problem. And my cousin stays at Itanagar and therefore, he cannot be of any help in that eventuality. So I started looking for alternate options over the net and came across three companies (not zoom car) who offer self driven vehicle on rent and immediately contacted them. My requirement was an Innova because eight people with luggage will not fit in a Scorpio and Ertiga. But it proved to be difficult to get an Innova in such a short notice. Finally, one of the agencies, who ranks at the bottom as per customer review, offered an Innova. Their charge was Rs. 25000/- for 9 days. I knew that they were charging more than the market rate, which is Rs. 2500 per day, but I did not have any option other than taking Innova from them in spite of higher charge and pathetic reputation. So I confirmed my booking with them. They told me that the car will be delivered at a place within 2 kms from the airport so we can straight way head to our destination from Guwahati airport. As the tour plan took the shape of traveling through a self-driven vehicle, we started looking at the routes in more detail. And then I came across to an alternate route to Bomdila from Guwahati via Kalaktang. The Kalaktang Route: The conventional route: As per few trip reports available on internet, the road condition is very good in most of the part of the Kalaktang road and there will be very less traffic. Guwahati to Bomdila is very much possible in a day. So we decided to take this route. Further, I read from Internet that road condition of Bhalukpong-Bomdila stretch of the traditional route is very pathetic. That also prompted me to try this new found route. However, there was a word of caution about the Kalaktang route. This route is primarily used by army. Very few local vehicles and tourist vehicles ply on this route. No support system in form of food stalls, car mechanic is available along this route. We understood the ramification of the same in a very hard way while retuning along the same route. Since we were saving one day in this new route, the itinerary changed a bit and the new itinerary was as follows: Day 1 : Guwahati to Bomdila Day 2: Bomdila to Tawang Day 3 : Obtaining necessary permission for Bumla pass and Tawang local sightseeing Day 4 : Day trip from Tawang to Bum La Pass, Pengateng Tso Lake (PT Tso Lake) and Sangetsar Lake (Madhuri Lake) Day 5 : Day trip to Lumla and Zemithang from Tawang Day 6 : Tawang to Dirang Day 7 : Dirang Local Sightseeing Day 8 : Dirang to Guwahati Day 9 : Local sightseeing at Guwahati Day 10 : Commencement of return journey While booking the self-driven vehicle, I came to know that these vehicles do not have overhead carrier because that is not permitted. That gave another headache of how to fit the luggages. So we decided to carry clothes and food stuff in Rucksacks and Kitbags and not to carry any hard body Suitcase because it is easy to fit Rucksacks and Kitbags because of the flexible shape. After finalising the vehicle and the route, I started the process of booking accommodation only 7 days before the commencement of the trip. Then I realised that it is high season and no rooms were available in the hotels (which are listed on internet) at Bomdila and Tawang. At Dirang, rooms were available at the hotel ‘Snow Lion’ so booked that immediately because Dirang has few staying options. For Bomdila and Tawang, I started hoping that since those two places have plenty of hotels, we would get something after reaching there. For Guwahati, we booked Tranqville Guest house. Just two days before the commencement of the journey, the car agency informed that they could not deliver the vehicle at the airport. We will be required to pick up the Innova from the city office which is good ~ 25 km away from airport. So it would take precious 2-3 hours of the morning. All of us were very excited about the trip to Tawang and Bumla. At the same time, there were few apprehensions in my mind on account of the decision of self driving on a route where few have gone by driving themselves (compared to Ladakh, Spiti or elsewhere), accommodation not confirmed, chance of rain etc. But then “Sochna Keya, Jo Bhi Hoga Dekha Jayega” spirit prevailed and the trip took off. On 27th evening, we started for Mumbai airport from Goregaon for catching 11.10 pm Go Air flight to Kolkata. In the subsequent posts, I will give day to day update. But as mentioned earlier, I did not do any noting during the trip. So my day to day update will contain more photos and less information. Now, let me give a glimpse of visual treat which we got in this trip.